NewsLinks is a collection of recent news items relating primarily to the California judicial branch. NewsLinks does not verify nor endorse the accuracy or fairness of the news items, and the views expressed in opinions, editorials, and commentaries are those of the writers only.
The most obvious trouble with our bail system is that it is unfair, and always has been. Bail — where an accused buys freedom from jail pending trial — is discriminatory because a poor person must pay the same amount as a wealthy person charged with the same crime.
(Subscription required) SB 36 introduces two rules for pretrial assessment services, which represent a growing industry in California as challenges to the cash bail system continue to mount across the state. The first rule requires pretrial assessment agencies to validate their services every three years, starting in 2021. The second makes it mandatory for agencies to publish data about their outcomes and potential biases.
(Subscription required) A panel of Commission on Judicial Performance special masters Thursday denied Justice Jeffrey Johnson's motion to strike the testimony of a former extern who said Johnson exposed his penis to her, forcibly kissed her and engaged in a campaign of verbal and sexual harassment against her.
(Subscription required) “I am very confident that my colleagues and I keep a very open mind during oral arguments and often times I use oral argument as an opportunity to have questions answered,” Kim said. “Unlike in trial court — where it’s very free-flowing in terms of question and answer — this is our one shot to ask questions after we have read the briefs and reviewed all the record.”
Employees who claim they were cheated out of wages suffered a legal setback Thursday when the California Supreme Court said they could not use a state law to sue on behalf of themselves and other workers for back wages and penalties.
The Legislature passed the final bill on Thursday, one of two approved this week that would mandate implicit bias training as a continuing education requirement for many medical professionals and court workers.
As part of the Tulare County Superior Court’s ongoing effort to increase access to justice, Tulare County became a pilot court for the California Judicial Council’s new MyCitations: Ability to Pay tool; an online option for people struggling to pay fines related to traffic infractions.
The state Supreme Court stirred up a legal hornet’s nest two years ago when it suggested — but didn’t explicitly declare — that a two-thirds vote requirement for specific local tax increases might not apply to measures placed on the ballot via initiative petition.
(Subscription required) Justice Jeffrey Johnson was recalled as the last witness in his Commission on Judicial Performance hearing Wednesday and testified a former extern’s account of him exposing himself to her in his chambers was false.
(Subscription required) Stockton family law attorney Michael Norton said Appel is very flexible in terms of listening to people’s particular situations and will occasionally provide a tentative ruling but is very open to having her mind changed.
The court issued a short order that did not explain the justices’ thinking, but the action means that the court is unlikely to weigh in on other cases in which defense attorneys claim that jurors considering a death sentence might be swayed by the moratorium.
However, the denial in each case was only “to the extent [the motion] seeks to seal the entire clemency file,” and the court ordered Newsom “to resubmit the record[s]” in two weeks so the court can then make findings — or not — to seal parts of the records.
The state Supreme Court rejected an appeal by Uber on Wednesday from a lower-court ruling requiring the ride-hailing company to share information about its drivers and rides with the city of San Francisco.
The California Supreme Court refused Wednesday to hear the case of a San Diego County man convicted of gunning down a 17-year-old girl in the parking lot of a shopping center in the Marina del Rey area.
It’s called a “county facilities payment” under California law, and it’s required to be paid by counties whenever court operations move from a facility they own and maintain into one that’s owned and maintained by the state.
In a call with reporters less than an hour after AB 5 passed in the Assembly, Uber chief legal officer Tony West said the company has no immediate plans to reclassify its drivers as employees and instead will consider legal and political alternatives, including a potential 2020 ballot measure.
A new draft report by the state Court Facilities Advisory Committee has El Dorado County slipping from the “top tier” of courthouse systems in need of funding for renovation or replacement — but local officials are trying not to worry about the new numbers.
The California Senate on Tuesday passed gig-work legislation that could transform the state’s employment landscape, turning many independent contractors into employees. The vote was 29-11, along party lines.
(Subscription required) The Assembly approved a bill that requires validation of pretrial assessment tools. SB 36 was authored by Sen. Robert Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys. Hertzberg also wrote SB 10, last year’s law that would phase out cash bail pending a 2020 referendum. The new bill is in part an attempt to understand which pretrial assessment tools work and to maintain momentum on changing pretrial release practices if SB 10 goes down.
(Subscription required) Success on the Baby Bar was highest among students in law offices and judges chambers programs, who had a pass rate of 36.8%. Scoring lowest were students registered in programs that are California-accredited but not approved by the ABA, who had a pass rate of 2.7%. The Baby Bar does not focus only on law. It tests students on general knowledge about specific topics.
Aaron Persky — who was recalled from his position at Santa Clara County Superior Court after public outrage over Turner’s sentencing — has begun the school season as the coach of Lynbrook High School’s junior varsity girls tennis team.
(Subscription required) “She is super sharp and picks up on areas of the law she really didn’t have any experience on before she got appointed,” said Jeffrey E. Hammond, a Napa-based criminal defense attorney who works as the conflict resolution counsel assigned to the family law and juvenile courts.
Under Assembly bill 1076, the California Department of Justice must create a database of all people eligible for record expungement, doing away with what advocates call the costly and burdensome requirement to petition a court to seal and dismiss a conviction.
“The County’s proposed policy – like the prior version the court ordered it to cease enforcing – seems to allow for immediate destruction of a wide variety of public records,” said Brendan Hamme, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) who successfully fought the county’s existing destruction policy in court.
Arrest rates in California have declined sharply over the past four decades, coinciding with an overall decline in crime around the state and country. But two recent progressive reforms to the state’s criminal justice system are also significantly driving down arrests around California, a new study released Monday found.